You’ve seen and maybe even participated on a contest that ran on Facebook and thought, “Hey, why don’t we run something like that for our own company Page?” Sure you can, but before you do, there are very important things you should consider.
First and foremost, way before you start planning your online contest, you have to ask yourself:
- What’s your goal
- How do you plan to reach it?
Is it fan growth you’re after, a few people to test your product, fans to buy your products or services, get feedback from consumers, or start a database? You can achieve these by basically giving added value, discounts, and/or merchandising. Specifically, you can launch a promotion of coupons, give away product samples, run a contest, or give free downloads (e.g., mobile app developed for your company/products, digital template or file related to your products).
When you’ve got these all patted down, you now have to go over Facebook’s Terms for Promotions. No, you cannot ignore them, lest you want to risk social media giant shutting down your Page. So familiarise yourself with all the rules.
Based on such, here are basically what we reckon you need to know about running Promotions and Contests on Facebook:
What You Have to Do
- You have to administer all contests, promotions, and sweepstakes on Facebook using a third-party application and never ever use a Facebook platform like your Page wall, Groups, Events, or any other Facebook function to run your promo;
- You have to make sure that contest rules are very clear and visible directly on your application Page; and
- Along with the details of your promo or contest, you have to incorporate a complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant and stipulate that the promo or contest is in not in any way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.
What You Cannot Do
- You cannot use any of Facebook’s features (i.e., like, share, comment button, use the photos/videos tab) as a voting tool or as registration for a promotion;
- You cannot contact winners through Facebook, be it through direct messaging, live chat, posting on the winner’s wall, or even posting on your own Page wall; and
- You cannot choose a winner from among your Facebook fans for a random draw, because that would mean that you will use Facebook to collect entries. That is, unless you somehow do it through a third-party app.
What You are Allowed to Do
- You are permitted to upload photos/videos for a promo or contest, but it would have to be done through a third-party application and not directly via Facebook’s photo/video tab on your Page;
- You are allowed to have buyers/fans/users like your Page, check into a Place, or connect to your app prior to joining your promo — on the condition that the promo is administered through a third-party app and is not used as a voting tool or registration;
- You can and should collect names and emails from contestants. This is advisable, particularly to be able to contact the winner/s. It doesn’t, however, give you the right to add email addresses to your mailing list, except if you explicitly stipulated it in your terms and permit them to unsubscribe;
- As long as you use a third-party app to run the contest, you can then use all Facebook features to promote it, be it through ads, wall posts, adding milestones, pinning to the top, et al.
We can’t find any local law online on the use of social media for promotions and contests, but the blog post on Social Media Promotions and the Law: What You Need to Know should be apply.
What You Have to Bear in Mind
- Keep things simple — entering a promo or contest should be as simple as possible. The longer or harder it takes to get a chance to receive or win something, the more people won’t participate; much less tell others about it.
- Don’t count on existing fans to help get others to join your promo. It is unlikely that your target audience will stumble upon your Facebook Page without you providing directions, along with an easy way to navigate once they do find you.
- Outside of Facebook ads, you should use other ways at your disposal that could help create more buzz for your promotion. There are, after all, other social media platforms out there, too, along with what you already have in place in your operations (e.g, print a Facebook-only offer on your paper receipts to attract more fans, ask customers of your online store to check your Facebook Page for special offers).
- The Facebook promotion itself is not the end goal. Go back to the very beginning of this post about what your actual goal is.
Sounds like a daunting task? Not necessarily. Just a few simple, basic rules to follow. Once you get it right, running promotions and contests on Facebook can truly be a very good way to acquire more fans and advertise your business.
Do you have a promo or contest you would like to promote through Facebook or already have an ongoing one? Which third-party app did you use?
Image: Moonstruck Mom